THROUGH THE BIBLE IN THREE YEARS

This program of daily Scripture studies is designed to help you in daily honoring God with adoration.

Each day, Monday through Friday, a Scripture with commentary is posted.

We have a great friend in Gary Godard. He has set up an archive page. To view ALL the prior Scripture studies by book and chapter, just clik


HERE.

Bro. Bruce's commentaries for the books of Genesis through Obadiah are
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TODAY'S SCRIPTURE STUDY

MATTHEW

CHAPTER 4

1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. 5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

Immediately after His baptism, Jesus went into the "wilderness." He had already been in the "wilderness" of the sin of humanity, and never sinned. But now He would be in a specific "wilderness" that tempted Him on the basis of WHO He was - THE Son of God.

Note that the whole purpose of His being in the wilderness was "to be tempted of the devil."

First, Jesus "fasted forty days and forty nights." Obviously this weakened His physical life. But the commitment of genuine fasting gave Him spiritual strength! The ultimate purpose of fasting is to be in constant communion with God. Though it may weaken the flesh, it strenthens the spirit.

TEMPTATION OF SAVING HIMSELF (Verses 3-4)
The Scripture says, "he was afterward an hungred." And, just at that time, the ole devil offered Jesus the FIRST temptation - bread. Now, at first, we may think this is a simple temptation: "You are hungy, so eat." But this temptation, we must remember, is based on WHO Jesus is! He is the Creator of the universe. By His Word He called forth from nothing the entirety of what is! The devil is tempting God to use His creative powers and satisfy His fleshly lusts for food.

Man's greatest hunger should not be bread (food), it should be THE "bread of Life" - God Himself!
Undeniably, we have physical hunger. But greater still is our hunger for a personal, intimate relationship with our Lord. Our deepest desire should not be the "bread" but the SOURCE of the bread! Our purpose in life is not to be filled and satisfied with the things of the world, but to be filled and satisfied with the things of God.

As Jehovah God, Jesus had sent the Israelites into the wilderness for forty YEARS! And they could do nothing but rely upon GOD for their provision. Should God, in human flesh, use His Almighty power to save Himself from suffering? NO! He determined that He would rely totally upon the SOURCE of His need, and be satisfied with the supply of that need within the WILL OF GOD!

And THAT is precisely why the WORD of God is "the Bread of Life!" Jesus is the LIVING BREAD. We must come to Him in order to find real life. The Bible is also LIVING BREAD. In it we find the express will of God stated and recorded for our benefit. Let us then follow the example of our Lord and rely upon the LIVING BREAD!

TEMPTATION TO TEMPT GOD'S PROTECTION (Verses 5-7)
Never underestimate the power of the ole devil. He had the power to CARRY Jesus to the very pinnacle of the temple! And we should realize that though the devil doesn't surrender to the Lordship of Christ, he certainly knows the revelation of Christ -- the Bible.

Here, the devil quotes Scripture. His use of the Scripture was to tempt Christ in total reliance to the Word of God. But see here what the devil LEFT OUT of the quote!
"11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Ps 91:11-12

Certainly, it would not be in God's "WAYS" to create hazard just to prove His protection! In fact, that's precisely how Jesus answered, with a another quote from God's Word: "Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God.." (Deut 6:16)

Preservation from danger is divinely given to God's children. However, we are not to throw ourselves without caution into danger, lest that divine provision be revoked!

TEMPTATION TO WORSHIP THE WORLD MORE THAN GOD (Verses 8-10)
Here, the devil throws away all pretenses to utilize God's Word. He simply relies upon the fact that dominion of the earth has been given over to him. And it is true, for man was first given dominion by the Lord ( Genesis 1:26).

And, yes, Jesus knew that man's dominion had been given over to the devil, for He Himself called Satan "the prince of this world. (John 12:31). But the dominion of man was GIVEN by the LORD! And though man had relinquished His rulership, God had NOT!

Now Jesus calls the devil what he IS: SATAN! He is the enemy of God, the father of lies, the evil one! And Jesus called him that to his FACE! And Jesus said, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve!"

Satan now realized that God in flesh is STILL GOD! The Lord, our Christ, is Holy, Righteous, and Almighty! Though He be tempted with the things of evil, He will NOT succumb!

Let us then, rely upon our Lord, Jesus when tempted with sin. Read and study and learn of Him from "the bread of life" - the Bible. Then when sin's temptations knock on the door, just let Jesus ANSWER!

Notice that when the temptations were finished, "Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him." And God has made His angels as "...ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" ( Heb 1:14)

If we, the "sons of God" by the blood of Christ and baptism of His Holy Spirit, will rely upon our SOURCE, and be wholly given to Him, He will supply our need.

12 Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; 13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: 14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, 15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.

We will find more about Jesus' ministry in several areas later. But let us look at perhaps a chronological listing of His ministry:
The Early Judaean Ministry (John 1:1-4),
The Galilean Ministry (Matthew 4:12 - 18:35),
The Perean Ministry (Matthew 19:1 - 20:16),
The Judaean Ministry (Matthew 20:17 - 20:34),
The Jerusalem Ministry (Matthew 21:1-25:46).

Matthew omitted the Early Judaean Ministry and begins with the Galilean Ministry, probably because that's where he himself met and surrendered to Christ.

But Matthew points out some very significant thoughts here. He says Jesus HEARD of John being placed in prison. Then he went to Galilee, specifically to Nazareth - His home town. In the Judaean area, John's publicity threatened Jesus' ministry. Were He to continue ministering there, He would be placing himself in danger of early crucifiction. Jesus did not leave for fear, but because God has perfect timing in His perfect plan!

When He came to Nazareth, Luke records an incident that caused Him to leave and go to Capernaum. Luke 4:16-31 shows that the people of His own synagogue tried to kill Him.

Where Nazareth was West of Mt. Tabor, Capernaum was on the Northwestern shore of The Sea of Galilee. It was there that Jesus taught His disciples Mark 2:1 and Mark 9:33.

In God's settlement of the tribes, as described to Joshua, this area included the areas of Naphtali and Zebulon. Isaiah had written his prophecy Isaiah 9:1 concerning this area.

Indeed the people had been in a great "darkness" for they were in an area of mixed population and mixed religious affinities. With a population composed of strangely mingled elements-Aramaean, Ituraean, Phoenician and Greek, these people did not hold an esteem for high orthodoxy as the Judaeans. But when Jesus came, He was more warmly accepted and received there than anywhere else. They realized the importance of Him as "The Light of the world!"

17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Here, Jesus is shown preaching the same two-fold message as John the Baptist: 1) REPENT 2) the kingdom of heaven is at hand. The kingdom of heaven is so near, one can enter into it immediately upon repentance. And remember, repentance is turning from who you are to being what God wants you to be.

18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. 20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. 21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. 22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

In John 1:35-42, it is explained that Jesus met these men before this time. They had listened as John the Baptist proclaimed Him "The Lamb of God." Then they had followed Him. Then Andrew went and found Peter and brought him to Jesus. Now, Jesus finds them again and calls them to a commitment.

Notice that they IMMEDIATELY left families and businesses to follow Jesus. He called them to become "disciples." He called them to have constant fellowship with Him, and to be trained for ministry. They would become "fishers of men." Peter, Andrew, James and John also would later become the main leaders to whom all the other disciples would look for leadership.

When a person is called to be saved, he/she is also called to become a "disciple." All Christians are called to be disciples (See Acts 6:7, Acts 9:19, Acts 21:4). A disciple is one who keeps in constant communion with Christ by being a student of His Word (and through prayer). Through discipleship and study of God's Word God enables a person to become "fishers of men."

23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. 24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. 25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.

Jesus went first to the local places of worship - the "synagogues." There He preached the "GOSPEL:" the good news of God's salvation offered to all men. He preached "liberty" to the captives of sin, and freedom to those enclosed in the prisons of sinfulness (See Isaiah 61:1).

This "GOOD NEWS" was preached to the lame, blind, demon-possessed, poor and rich alike! And accompanying His preaching was the performance of miracles only God could do.

Therefore, Jesus' "fame went throughout all Syria..." People were bringing Him anyone who was afflicted, and He would heal them.

Great multitudes of people followed Him wherever He went! People began to gather around Him from other areas, such as Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judaea, and on the Eastern side of Jordan. Literally all of the Palestinian area was influenced by His ministry. One can only imagine the crowds of people as Jesus would teach and preach!

And this leads us to understand why He had to climb to the side of a mountain to preach the following sermon.

PLEASE CONTINUE WITH US IN BIBLE STUDY TOMORROW.